Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chuckanut 50K

I had a day full of adventure. And the run was the minor part. What a great day it was too.
I got up at 3:45 and decided to ride my little Honda Metro to the run. It was 42 degrees at my house so I figured I would be fine on the way there. I was a little off. I put one bottle of drink in the carbon fiber bottle cage and figured I would swap another one on the way out, plus eat a Powerbar when I got my new bottle from under the seat. That didn't exactly work out to plan. As I left my house and dropped into the Snohomish Valley the weather quickly cooled. As I continued to drive it felt colder and colder, to the point where it was about 30. I had to wear my running shoes as I didn't really have any more room to pack anything else. All in all it took me about 2 hours and 10 minutes to get there. I was shivering, my hands weren't working anymore, and my feet were numb too. It was worth it though. I didn't even use a gallon of gas to drive the 75 miles to Fairhaven.

I spent the next 80 minutes trying to get warm. I went for a short 1.5 mile run, which worked well enough to get my core temp up, but my feet were still numb. I ran into Bill Huggins, a guy I moved up to cat. 2 with in Cyclocrosst and caught up with him, which was cool. Bill is an awesome dude. Next thing I know it's about 10 minutes to race start and my feet are still numb. I wasn't too worried though, I didn't think there would be any technical trails for a while. It turns out the first 6 miles are relatively flat and the footing is easy, much to my numb feet's delight. It was somewhere between 5-6 miles before I got all my feeling back in my feet.

Heading into the first aid station meant the single track and the real fun was about to begin. I kept a conservative pace for the beginning, staying aerobic and smooth. With a minimum goal of sub 5 hours I didn't think it would be too hard to attain. I suck (slow) at power walking the steep climbs, instead choosing to plod up them as best as I can. This proved to be much faster than most people can walk. My shoes were starting to bug me though on the first long decent. They always do. I need to find a new trail shoe I like that doesn't tear my feet up. Luckily I remembered to wrap my one foot in duct tape, that stuff really does have a million uses.

I ate and drank as much as I thought I needed, but I think not being able to eat and drink in the car on the way up really bit me in the ass by the time we got to the top of Lil Chinscraper. This climb, being only 800 feet, wasn't horribly long, but it was pretty steep and tough to go fast on.
After this it was all downhill and mostly flat to the finish. Although I knew I was running out of calories. I had 1/2 a Powerbar left in my fuel belt, so I downed that. And tried to survive to the next and last aid station. I was in full bonk mode although my legs were still pretty OK. I just needed calories. I survived to the last aid station where I consumed an enormous amount of calories. A huge handful of M & M's, a handful of Clif Bloks, a couple gels, and 8-10 little cups of coke and I was off. After about maybe one more slow mile my blood sugar kicked in and I was able to get my pace close to sub 8:00 minute miles the rest of the way. I ended up running the last 6 miles in 52 minutes, but I like to think the lack of calories were a big factor in the slowing of my pace before it picked up again. I ended up running in 4:58, not horrible, but I definitely feel as if I can run that course a lot faster. I ran into Glen shortly after, it's amazing that we were only 4 minutes apart and never saw one another the whole race. We saw Joleen finish, she wasn't looking too happy but looked like she finished strong.
The field was stacked. I don't think I've ever been in a race which contained this much talent. When the current Western States 100 winner gets 6th you know the field is stacked. I would have loved to have seen them fly up the hills.
It was warm for the scoot home though. I was horribly overdressed and had to stop after an hour or so to shed a layer or 2. I took the long way home because of the increased traffic. All told it was a very enjoyable day. I ended up putting 160 miles on the scooter and only used about 1.55 gallons of gas. My back was a little sore on the way home though, but it was worth it. Then it was back to the kids and since it was so nice out there wasn't any time to relax as we headed to the park and played for the rest of the day. Good times...

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